Interesting Facts About Sheep Flock Behavior

If you’ve ever been on a cross country road trip, or visited a farm or petting zoo, you’ve most likely seen a flock of sheep before. But have you ever paid attention to how a flock moves? Sheep are natural followers, and like many other species in the animal kingdom, where on goes, the rest follows. Continue reading to learn more about sheep flock behavior. What you discover might surprise you!

Show Lambs and Lamb Genetics 812-871-5700

Show Lambs and Lamb Genetics 812-871-5700

A Natural Instinct

Sheep are both followers and leaders when in a group, and it is something you can witness for yourself simply by observing a flock on a pasture of land. They are born with a natural instinct to follow one another. This behavior results from an instinct that has been hard-wired into sheep DNA since the beginning of their evolution. While in a flock, if one sheep begins to walk in another direction, the rest of the flock will follow, even if the point of destination is disadvantageous or dangerous. Whether to the slaughter house or off of a cliff, sheep will follow each other every time.

Why Do They Follow Each Other?

This natural instinct is might be due to several reasons. Sheep are both gregarious and social animals, and getting separated from the group will cause them extreme distress. They prefer to remain in groups for both safety and companionship. While grazing, sheep most comfortable when in a group of at least four or five. Not only does this help protect them from predators, it gives them a sense of ease when they can have visual contact with the rest of the flock.

Many other animals exhibit this same behavior. For instance, many fish and bird species also have an internal instinct to swarm in the same directions. In sheep, however, it is something instinctual in all species, and the most evident in wool-producing sheep.

Icelandic Leadersheep

Leadersheep are a very unique and highly intelligent genus of sheep in Iceland that are born with the naturally ability to lead a flock home to safety during dangerous or inclement conditions. It is believed that they can sense danger, and have the instinct to protect a flock by directing them home. There have been many documented cases throughout history of leadersheep saving flocks in times of harsh blizzards and heavy storms.

Indiana Show Lambs

Viking Show Lambs and Genetics 812-871-5700

Viking Show Lambs and Genetics 812-871-5700

Call Viking Show Lambs and Genetics at 812-871-5700 to acquire quality show lambs and lamb semen in Indiana. We have a carefully selected flock of show lambs, rams, and ewes to choose from, as well as, buck lambs, reference sires, stud rams, donors, and much more. We also offer quality lamb semen and artificial inseminations. Call us today at 812-871-5700 to get ready for your next breeding season!

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Do Sheep Have 4 Stomachs?

If you have heard that sheep have four stomachs, you haven’t heard an accurate fact; however, it’s also not too far from the truth. You see, sheep are a ruminant species, which means they have a four-chambered stomach and a distinctive digestive process. Ruminants are mostly distinguished for their “cud-chewing” practices, which involve chewing, regurgitating, re-chewing, and swallowing their food. The term “cud” refers to the food bolus (a large mass or lumped of chewed food) that is created and regurgitated for re-chewing and swallowing. The reason why they are called ruminant species is mostly due to their four-compartment stomach, also called the rumen. The four parts include the rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum. Single-stomach species, like us, are referred to as monogastrics.

Show Lambs and Lamb Genetics 812-871-5700

Show Lambs and Lamb Genetics 812-871-5700

Sheep Rumens

The rumen takes up most of the space within the abdominal cavity in a sheep. It serves as a large storage vat for fermenting food, and contains billions of microorganisms and microbes, including protozoa and bacteria. This allows sheep to properly digest their fibrous diet of grass and grain. Initially, food is quickly eaten and swallowed, but then later regurgitated, re-chewed, and re-swallowed. This process is called “rumination” or “cud chewing”, and is very distinctive of ruminant species, including elk, goats, cows, mules, deer, moose, giraffes, and more. Sheep usually ruminate during rest or sleep, and not while eating. Mature sheep will chew their cuds for several hours every day.

Rumination also produces a lot of gas in the stomach as well. Sheep must get rid of this gas through belching. If anything impedes a sheep’s ability to belch and eliminate gas, it can be life threatening. A common condition that results from an obstruction of belching is bloat. Bloat is serious and can be fatal to sheep and other ruminant species. Antacids or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) can usually manage minor cases of sheep bloat, but more serious conditions require emergency veterinary service.

The remaining parts of the rumen include the reticulum, omasum, and abomasum. The reticulum looks like a honeycomb, and serves as the assistant to the rumen since both parts continually mix food back and forth. The reticulum does not experience a lot of digestive activity. It is made up of several layers, giving it the colloquial term, many piles. The last part of the rumen, the abomasum, is an interesting part because it is basically the actual stomach of the sheep. The abomasum works just as a regular stomach would in a monogastric species, excreting enzymes and acids to break down nutrients and aid in digestion.

Indiana Show Lambs and Lamb Genetics

Viking Show Lambs and Genetics 812-871-5700

Viking Show Lambs and Genetics 812-871-5700

Call Viking Show Lambs and Genetics at 812-871-5700 to procure quality show lambs and lamb semen in Indiana. We retain a large flock of carefully selected and bred lambs, rams, and ewes that retain champion bloodlines. We also offer quality lamb semen and artificial inseminations.

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How to Tell a Sheep’s Age By Their Incisor Teeth

Show Lambs and Lamb Genetics 812-871-5700

Show Lambs and Lamb Genetics 812-871-5700

In the lamb genetics industry, a sheep’s age plays a significant role in various aspects of lamb breeding. A veteran sheep farmer may be able to guess a sheep’ age simply by looking at it, while others rely on a set method that’s proven to be accurate. The proven method to tell a sheep’s age is to inspect their upper incisor teeth. As sheep mature, their teeth go through different developmental stages. Each stage represents that time period in a sheep’s life. Continue reading to learn how professional lamb breeders utilize sheep incisor teeth to determine their age range.

Sheep Aging

Sheep farmers commonly use a sheep’s upper incisor teeth to determine how old they are. When lambs are first born, you would think they wouldn’t have any teeth at all; but this is untrue. Lambs are born with 4 sets of two temporary incisors on their bottom jaw called “milk teeth”, which are used to grasp the mother’s nipple for nursing. Their top jaw is just a dental pad with no teeth.

As a lamb continues to grow, so do their teeth. After one year or so, their temporary central incisors are replaced by a pair of permanent ones. At two years old, the second pair of temporary incisors are replaced by permanent ones. Then, at 3 and 4 years old, the third and fourth pair of temporary incisor teeth are replaced by permanent sets. So when a sheep is 4 years old, it should have a full set of permanent adult teeth.

After 4 Years Old

Once sheep pass the age of four, their permanent incisors begin to gradually spread apart. They will also begin to show signs of wear and tear, and possible breakage. In fact, when ewes (female sheep) have lost a few teeth, they are referred to as “broken mouth” ewes. If a ewe has lost all of their teeth, they are called “gummers” in the industry.

A sheep without incisor teeth is not necessarily in bad shape. They can still survive since their molars are the teeth that do most of the work in terms of chewing. On the other hand, a lack of incisor teeth does make grazing more difficult for them. But with proper care and supervision, this issue can be easily managed.

Indiana Show Lambs and Lamb Genetics

Viking Show Lambs and Genetics 812-871-5700

Viking Show Lambs and Genetics 812-871-5700

Call Viking Show Lambs and Genetics at 812-871-5700 to procure quality show lambs and sheep semen in Indiana. We retain a large flock of carefully selected and bred lambs, rams, and ewes that retain champion bloodlines. We also offer quality lamb semen and artificial inseminations. Let us help you get ready for your next breeding season! Call 812-871-5700 to learn more about show lambs and lamb genetics in Indiana.

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Show Lamb Artificial Insemination in Indiana

Artificial insemination (AI) is the modern day gateway for sheep breeders to gain top-quality genetics using superior domestic and international sires. Depending on the breed and the quality of the ram, vials (or straws) will vary greatly in price, making lamb genetic gains a true possibility for all sheep producers.

If you are getting ready for your next breeding season here in Indiana, artificial insemination is a fantastic avenue for producing a strong flock. Since AI is a surgical procedure, it requires the knowledge and expertise of a licensed pet veterinarian who specializes in artificial insemination of livestock. Fortunately, there is already a tentative AI schedule for sheep breeders here in Indiana.

Continue below to review the artificial insemination calendar for this year, as well as, who to call for more information on procuring quality show lambs and progeny-tested ram semen in Indiana.

Show Lambs and Lamb Genetics 812-871-5700

Show Lambs and Lamb Genetics 812-871-5700

Show Lamb AI Schedule for 2017

Monday, July 10:

Viking Lamb, Morristown, IN

Friday, July 21:

Ryan Morris, Indiana

Thursday, August 3:

Viking Lamb, Morristown, IN

Saturday, August 5:

Springport FFA, Pat Henne

Friday, August 11:

Viking Lamb, Morristown, IN

Sunday, August 6:

Ray Hesler , Adams County Fairgrounds, West Union, Ohio

Monday, August 7:

Corner View Club Lambs, Wisconsin

*This schedule is tentative.

How to Procure Show Lambs and Lamb Genetics in Indiana

Viking Show Lambs and Genetics 812-871-5700

Viking Show Lambs and Genetics 812-871-5700

Call Viking Show Lambs and Genetics at 812-871-5700 to procure quality show lambs and lamb semen in Indiana. We retain a large flock of carefully selected and bred lambs, rams, and ewes that retain champion bloodlines. We also offer quality lamb semen and artificial inseminations. Let us help you get ready for your next breeding season! Call 812-871-5700 to learn more about show lambs and lamb genetics in Indiana.

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Don’t Miss the Fuzz Ball x Steel Banana Online Semen Sale!

Saturday May 13 & Sunday May 14th

Show Lambs and Lamb Genetics 812-871-5700

Fuzz Ball x Steel Banana Online Semen Sale

If you are looking for high-quality, progeny-tested, sheep semen in Indiana, talk to Viking Show Lambs and Genetics, today! This upcoming weekend, we are holding a Fuzz Ball x Steel Banana online semen sale at ShowStockPlanet.com! The sale starts Saturday evening, May 13th, and closes on Sunday evening, May 14th.

Do Not Miss Out on This Opportunity! You have the chance to procure quality Indiana lamb sperm derived from legitimate, industry-leading herd sires and truly turn your breeding season into a success! Fuzz Ball and Steel Banana pedigrees are strong, and have a competitive champion heritage that stands out among the rest!

Check out their information below, or call Viking Show Lambs and Genetics at 812-871-5700 to learn more about the upcoming sale and this year’s artificial insemination schedule for Indiana.

Meet Fuzz Ball!

Fuzz Ball

Fuzz Ball

Sire: Post
Dam: 318 (White Rock) x White Rock
AI Date: May 23rd, 2017
Location: Modesto, CA
Semen Available: May 23rd, 2017
Recently procured for $23,500

Meet Steel Banana!

Steel Banana

Steel Banana

Cool Banana x Real Steel x Mudcat x Stud Duck RR

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What is a Complete Lamb?

Show Lambs and Lamb Genetics 812-871-5700

Show Lambs and Lamb Genetics 812-871-5700

When it comes time to choose a new market lamb, there are specific traits you should look for in order to meet your overall, final objective for the lamb. Many investors make the mistake of choosing a lamb that exhibits some traits in extreme, which outweighs other important characteristics and reduces their usefulness. So when acquiring a new lamb, be sure you choose a reputable sheep farmer who raises well-rounded, complete lambs.

Continue reading to learn how to identify a complete lamb, and who to trust for quality market lambs in Indiana.

Well-Rounded Lambs

A well-rounded, complete lamb is a lamb that exhibits a full set of above-average traits, including muscle thickness, frame size, eye appeal, balance, weight range, and structural correctness. It is a lamb that will deliver economical gains and finish at a market-acceptable weight.

Muscle Thickness

A complete lamb should show signs of width and depth through the loin, fullness and length through the rump, leg, and stifle, and fullness in forearms, and shoulders. This is evidence of good future muscle development.

Frame Size

Frame size is a good predictor of weight and growth potential. Choose a frame size that is not too big nor too small. Lambs with outlier frame sizes tend to finish at weights that are not acceptable for market lambs. Consider an even combination of length, height, weight, and total volume.

Structural Correctness

Several traits are evidence of structural soundness in a lamb. Overall, the lamb should be free of any abnormalities, both physical and genetic. This includes head, nose, mouth, eyes, wool, feet placement, and more.

Balance

Balance and eye appeal are important traits, however, they can be more of a biased method of measurement. Overall, a lamb with good balance should be level in the top line, square and straight over the rump, with minor to moderate coarseness through the brisket, neck, and shoulders.

Weight

A market lamb should be chosen within a manageable weight range. This means they need to be at least 8 weeks old and already heavy enough to meet the market-accepted weight at finish.

Indiana Club Lambs

Viking Show Lambs and Genetics 812-871-5700

Viking Show Lambs and Genetics 812-871-5700

Call Viking Show Lambs and Genetics at 812-871-5700 to procure quality club lambs and lamb semen in Indiana. Our farm retains a large flock of carefully-bred lambs, rams, and ewes that retain champion bloodlines. Call 812-871-5700 to learn more about purchasing Indiana show lambs and lamb genetics, today.

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The 6 Parts of Basic Sheep Nutrition

Show Lambs and Lamb Genetics 812-871-5700

Show Lambs and Lamb Genetics 812-871-5700

When raising show lambs, you want quality rams and ewes that exhibit the highest standards of muscle, soundness, wool, milkability, pedigree, and several other superior genetic traits. But the only way sheep will achieve these champion traits is if they are very-well cared for in all aspects of living. And the most influential factor is their diet and nutrition. A sheep’s diet should, at the very least, contain energy, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and water.

Continue reading to learn the 6 basic parts of proper sheep nutrition, and who to contact for expert lamb genetics near you.

Sheep Nutrition Should At Least Include:

Energy

Energy is sourced from grains, primarily. This includes pasture grass, hay, silage, and other forms of starches and carbohydrates. But energy can also come from fats and excess proteins. Although it makes up for the majority of a sheep’s diet, it is the most limiting in terms of nutrients. That is why sheep cannot survive on grain feed alone.

Protein

Protein is another critical part of a sheep’s nutritional plan. And you can expect it to be the most expensive part as well. Because the rumen manufactures protein from amino acids, the amount of protein in a sheep’s diet is usually more important than the quality. But this is arguable. Common types of protein fed to sheep include soybean meal, whole soy beans, peanut meal, sunflower meal, fish meal and alfalfa pellets. If harvested in their early to mid-bloom stage, legume hay can be used as an intermediate source of protein.

Fiber

Fiber can come from various sources, including their energy and protein sources. It is a vital part of their diet, not only because it adds bulk, but also because it increases rumination and salivation, which helps to keep the rumen functioning properly. It is recommended to feed flocks one pound of fiber, per head, per day. If you catch sheep chewing on wool or wood, they may not have enough roughage in their diet.

Minerals

There are 16 different minerals that livestock agriculturalists recommend for a sheep’s diet. These include chloride (Cl), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sodium (Na), and sulfur (S). Micro-minerals are also necessary, but only in small amounts, and include cobalt (Co), copper (Cu), fluoride (Fl), iodine (I), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), selenium (Se), and zinc (Zn).

Vitamins

Just like minerals, experts recommend feeding sheep a series of vitamins as well, namely vitamins A, D, and E. But dietary supplements are not necessary.

Water

Arguably the most important aspect of a sheep’s diet is water. All living organisms require water to sustain health and life, and sheep are no different. Sheep require clean, fresh water on a daily basis. Enough water for every head to consume 4 gallons of water per day.

Indiana Show Lambs and Lamb Genetics

Viking Show Lambs and Genetics 812-871-5700

Viking Show Lambs and Genetics 812-871-5700

Call Viking Show Lambs and Genetics at 812-871-5700 to acquire quality show lambs and lamb semen in Indiana. We retain a large flock of carefully selected and bred lambs, rams, and ewes that retain champion bloodlines. We also offer quality lamb semen and artificial inseminations. Let us help you get ready for your next breeding season! Call 812-871-5700 to learn more about show lambs and lamb genetics in Indiana.

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Common Terminology in the Show Lamb Industry

For anyone new to the world of show lambs and lamb genetics, a top priority is to learn as much as possible about the industry. A great place to start is to learn the fundamental lamb terminology used among breeders, showers, buyers, and more. Continue reading for a basic introduction to common terminology in the show lamb and lamb genetic business.

Show Lambs and Lamb Genetics 812-871-5700

Show Lambs and Lamb Genetics 812-871-5700

Basic Lamb Terminology:

Sheep Adult lambs over 12 months of age.

Lamb A baby sheep under 12 months of age.

Ewe A female sheep.

Yoe Slang term for ewe.

Ewe Lamb A young female sheep.

Cull Ewe A ewe that is no longer suitable for breeding.

Ram A male sheep that is uncastrated.

Ram Lamb A young male sheep.

Buck Slang term for Ram.

Dam A mother sheep.

Sire A father sheep.

Wether A castrated male sheep.

Slink A very young baby lamb.

Hogget Slang term for a lamb between 9 months and 1 ½ years old. Also called Hogg.

Club Lamb A lamb born through selective breeding, and shown at contests for prize money and titles.

Lamb Meat Meat of a lamb under 6 months of age.

Mutton Meat of an adult sheep, or lamb over 6 months of age.

Flock A group of sheep.

Joining The strategic placement of rams and ewes for mating purposes.

In Lamb Pregnant

Lambing The process of a sheep giving birth to a lamb.

Lanolin A viscous, yellow, greasy substance found in wool. It is secreted through a sheep’s’ skin.

Springer A dam on the verge of giving birth.

Lamb Semen Sperm of a ram.

Spermatogenesis Production of sperm.

Flushing Feeding sheep exceptionally nutritious food in the weeks leading up to mating for the purpose of improving fertility.

Indiana Show Lambs and Lamb Genetics

Viking Show Lambs and Genetics 812-871-5700

Viking Show Lambs and Genetics 812-871-5700

Call Viking Show Lambs and Genetics at 812-871-5700 to procure quality show lambs and lamb semen in Indiana. We retain a large flock of carefully selected and bred lambs, rams, and ewes that retain champion bloodlines. We also offer quality lamb semen and artificial inseminations. Let us help you get ready for your next breeding season! Call 812-871-5700 to learn more about show lambs and lamb genetics in Indiana.

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Viking Show Lambs and Genetics Launches a Brand New Website!

Get ready for the next breeding and show season with…

Viking Show Lambs and Genetics!

Viking Show Lambs and Genetics has officially launched their new and improved website! Check out our easy-to-use and informative website dedicated to our show lambs and lamb genetics enterprise! You will find all sorts of useful information about show lambs, lamb genetics, procurement, artificial insemination, and much more!

Peruse each page for a closer look at our locally born and raised club Lambs For Sale; but don’t forget to check out our Sires, Reference Sires, Lambs, and our Lamb Semen pages while you’re at it too!

If you are a local or national lamb breeder, visit our Schedule page to review the 2017 AI schedule and see when our farm is host to one next! And if you are interested in ordering farm-to-table lamb meat that has been raised and processed right here in Indiana, check out our Lamb Meats page! There you will find a list of products and cuts we offer and their pictures, as well as, a convenient shortcut to our dedicated Viking lamb meat website!

Our flocks are carefully selected and bred for superior genetics and performance!

As commercially-registered sheep breeders, we use a highly-focused and systematic approach that ensures our lambs reach their full genetic potential. We offer a wide selection of premier show lambs and sheep semen descended from real life, industry-leading lineages. They are carefully selected and bred to produce superior genetics and traits that champion’s retain. In fact, don’t pass up a chance to scroll through our Winners page to see just how serious we are about breeding true champions! Also be sure to check out Our Story of how our sheep farm came to be.

Orders are Easy!

Viking Show Lambs and Genetics 812-871-5700

Viking Show Lambs and Genetics 812-871-5700

And when it comes to procuring members of our flock, we do everything in our power to make the order process easy and hassle-free! Just go to our Contact Us page and send us an email with your inquiries or estimate requests. Or better yet, call us directly at 812-871-5700 and speak with a friendly member of our locally-owned and operated sheep farm today.

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